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Currently over 8,500 acres near El Dorado, California are on fire. The fires began courtesy of a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” used during a gender reveal party. 

A similarly stupid gender-reveal accident occurred in 2017 in Arizona, resulting in 47,000 fire-destroyed acres and over $8 million of damage. A quick tour of the five stages of grief landed me in acceptance and then a sixth stage: curiosity. I wondered if other historic tragedies were perhaps actually the result of gender reveal parties gone bad. My findings are shocking!

Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Wardrobe Malfunction, February 2004

Ms. Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s blunder was on the biggest stage in America, the Super Bowl halftime show, which 100 million people watched. While Janet was chastised, JT got a seeming free pass for freeing the nipple. Worse than that, the stunt was just a favor for JT, whose older sister was pregnant. Janet agreed to help, wearing a tear-away bra that reportedly set to reveal a pink or blue pasty, but instead, ironically, revealed a case of American gender double standards.

Baby Jessica Stuck in the Well, October 1987

Would you believe that Baby Jessica was actually lowered down into the well alongside her cousin, Baby Anthony? The McClure family was constantly trying to one up each other with public spectacles, and so when Baby Jessica’s aunt became pregnant, the natural inclination was to put boy and girl McClures in the local well and use the bucket to bring up the matching applicable gender. The McClures all gathered as Baby Anthony came riding up with the good news, and as the bucket was sent back down for Baby Jessica, it became wedged sideways, blocking the way and communication lines. Almost two days later, Baby Jessica got to rejoin the growing family!

The Atomic Bomb Dropped on Nagasaki, August 1945

Everyone knows the first bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan was all business: an unfortunate tragedy debatably necessary in a time of world war. However, few textbooks explain that the second bomb, the one dropped on Nagasaki, was actually the grand finale of a gender reveal party for Harry S Truman’s pregnant niece.

Truman actually used the Hiroshima bomb originally, naming it “Little Boy” but no one picked up on it! Thus, the second bomb was ordered to be filled with blue jelly beans, letting the family know another strong man was on the way. It was a “two birds, one stone” situation because the Jelly Belly Corp had overproduced the blueberry flavor and needed to empty warehouse space to help the war effort. However, a blip in transcontinental wires led to a disastrous and deadly confusion.

The Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, June 1914

Unintentional murderer and accidental World War I starter Gavrilo Princip was a bike messenger in Sarajevo en route to deliver a gender reveal cake to a wealthy Serbian family when he crossed the Archduke’s motorcade path. The Austrian strongarmers protecting the route wouldn’t let him cross, and—already running late—Princip made an agreement that if they let him through, the Archduke and his goons could crash the gender reveal party. Later at the party, F2 (his nickname in social settings) took a bite of the pink fleshed cake, not knowing that he had what 21st Century white Americans would call a tree nut allergy and that the cake was baked in a facility that baked with almonds. The rest was history.

The White House Burned Down, August 1814

President James Madison was presented with an awkward ultimatum: host a baby shower on the White House lawn for a British woman he’d had a passing dalliance with, or she would reveal their affair to Dolly Madison and the country, already tense from the War of 1812. So Madison did what any beltway politico would do and made lemonade from some unwelcome lemons. He hosted a hush-hush celebration, and had a White House intern buy some sparklers in Virginia. The overachieving intern found that he could get discount fireworks for the price of sparklers and surprised both the President and the party with extra oomph. When the fireworks shot up, they set the East Wing on fire. Madison’s quick-thinking press secretary spun the story to suggest our British enemies burned down the White House, stealing headlines and changing the narrative. Don Draper would’ve been proud.

The Black Death, September 1346

In one of the earliest gender reveals on record, a British peasant, trying to make his impoverished and pregnant wife feel like the richest woman in the world, created a neighborhood event for her and her friends. After mimosas and minimalist cheese board (mostly moldy and stinky varieties), the man painted two rats—one pink and one blue—and told the women in attendance that whichever rat crossed the street first would reveal the baby’s gender. Because his neighbor—a down on his luck drunk, posing as a psychic—told the peasant he knew they were having a baby girl, he poisoned the blue mouse, so that it would be weaker than the pink. Fortunately the pink mouse finished first, correctly predicting his forthcoming daughter. But unfortunately, the poison did not kill the blue mouse, and instead it ran into the sewers, contaminating the neighborhood’s water and wiping out the town, nation, and eventually most of Europe.

The Ten Plagues, Approximately February 1500 BC

Look, it wasn’t a river of blood. Classic Jewish media hoax. Pharaoh’s daughter was with child and Pharaoh thought it would be a real baller move to color the Nile red to let his subjects know that he was about to be a grandfather of a precious little Egyptian girl. A source inside the Pharaoh administration told Reuters, “Obviously, a river of blood would have better foreshadowed the killing of the first borns of Egypt, which would have been a nice heads up.”

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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